Afghan journalism student sentenced to 20 years

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- An appeals court in Afghanistan has overturned a death sentence for a journalism student who was accused of blasphemy.

The student was charged for asking questions in class about women's rights under Islam.

But even though they overturned the death sentence, the judges still sentenced the man to 20 years in prison.

The case has come to symbolize the move in Afghanistan toward an ultraconservative view on religious and individual freedoms.

The student (Parwez Kambakhsh) told the AP as he left the courtroom that he doesn't "accept the court's decision," which he called "unfair."

The case can still be appealed to Afghanistan's highest court.

Besides the accusation that he disrupted class with his questions, prosecutors also said the man had illegally distributed an article he printed off the Internet that asked why Islam doesn't modernize to give women equal rights.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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